The Ph.D. Program in History

at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York


Call For Papers – Conceptualizing “Afro-Latin America” Across the Disciplines

 What is implied when we invoke the term “Afro-Latin America?”  What work does this term perform? Although often deployed as a heuristic device to describe individuals of African descent within Latin America, the term “Afro-Latin America” is indeed one fraught with a variety of implicit assumptions that dictate how scholars across the disciplines have come to study and analyze the “black presence” within Latin America.  Such assumptions include (but are not limited to) a necessary engagement with the African continent in any process of identity, cultural, or social formation; the historical, geopolitical, and spatial significance of “Latin America” or any of its constitutive nation-states; and by extension, the preclusion of the rich historical, political, and sociocultural ties within and between individuals of African descent in the (non Spanish-speaking) Caribbean and the mainland of what has come to constitute “Latin America.”  As such, these assumptions undergird a transparent notion of who and where one can or cannot be an “Afro-Latin American.” While these assumptions have generated a plethora of reputable scholarly inquiry, they have also limited and perhaps overdetermined our studies of race, cultural and political identity, community formation, social stratification, and so on among people of African descent within Latin America.


The goal of the conference is thus to consider the alternative nexuses by which people of African descent within Latin America have engaged in the projects of identity, cultural, and social formation writ large.  We hope to consider the questions around and implications of a “black” rather than “African” diaspora, specifically with respect to the ways in which local, national, and transnational processes of racialization have inspired people of African descent to create common cause with others that they identify as racially similar.  When considering these historical and social processes, we also wish to interrogate —both spatially and temporally—the framework of the nation-state.


Papers are invited that address any of the following themes and questions: the role of Africa (“real,” imagined, or otherwise) within communities of African descent throughout Latin America; African/ black diasporic imaginaries within Latin America; translocal or transnational processes of racialization and the construction of “blackness”; black internationalisms within Latin America; the analytic purchase of the nation-state when studying populations of African descent in Latin America; the diasporic relationships between the Caribbean writ large and the mainland of Latin America; and finally, the relationship between race, “blackness,”  and knowledge production within Latin America and the Caribbean.


Please send abstracts to no later than December 15, 2015.   Paper presentations should be between 15-20 minutes.


CUNY Graduate Center

365 Fifth Avenue

New York, NY 10016


April 8, 2016


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